Common Ticks: All about How They Look Like

Though ticks are commonly thought to be “insects”, they are in fact arachnids like spiders, scorpions, and mites. All these group members have four pairs of legs and no antennae. Ticks are definitely the most efficient disease carriers, as they firmly attach sucking blood, feed for several days and may be unnoticed for a considerable time.

All ticks have 4 life stages:

  1. Egg.
  2. Six-legged larva.
  3. Eight-legged nymph.
  4. Adult.

Ticks wait for host animals either from the shrubs (not from trees) or tips of grasses. They let go of vegetation very quickly and climb onto the moving person/animal host. Ticks can only crawl, but they neither fly nor jump. Some tick species are able to crawl over several feet towards their host and can be active in winter with high temperatures.

How Does a Tick Bite Look photo

All ticks can be grouped into: “hard” ticks and “soft” ticks.


  1. A soft tick has no hard shield and is shaped like a large raisin. It prefers to feed on bats and birds.
  2. A hard tick (like the common dog tick) has a hard shield behind the mouthparts; it is shaped like a flat seed.

How Does a Tick Bite Look photos

Although there are at least 15 species of ticks, only a few of them can be defined by people:

American Dog Tick (Wood Tick)

(Dermacentor Variabilis)

  • the most encountered tick;
  • feeds on small/medium/large warm-blooded animals and humans;
  • is reddish-brown;
  • a female has a large silver spot behind the head and is about grape size. A male has silver lines on its back;
  • is active in April, May and June mostly;
  • transmits tularemia/spotted fever/ehrlichiosis to humans.

Lone Star Tick

 (Amblyomma Americanum)

  • feeds on different hosts, including people;
  • is very tiny (about pinhead-sized);
  • is brown and 1/8-inch long;
  • a female has a white spot in the middle of the back;
  • is sometimes misidentified as the deer tick;
  • is mostly active in April-July;
  • is not likely to transmit diseases, but still transmits tularemia/ehrlichiosis to humans.

Blacklegged Tick/the Deer Tick

(Ixodes Scapularis)

  • feeds on various hosts, including people;
  • is reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long;
  • is found in wooded areas along trails;
  • is active in spring/early summer/fall;
  • may transmit Lyme disease/ehrlichiosis to humans.

Brown Dog Tick/the Kennel Tick

 (Rhipicephalus Sanguineus)

  • feeds mostly on dogs and bites people rarely;
  • survives and develops indoors;
  • is found in kennels/homes with dogs;
  • is reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long;
  • usually attaches around the dog’s ears/between the dog’s toes;
  • may lay over 3,000 eggs;
  • is of tropical origin and can’t survive winters or outdoors;
  • is not a very important carrier of human diseases.

Winter Tick

(Dermacentor Albipictus)

  • feeds on large mammals like cattle, deer, and horses;
  • remains attached on the host throughout life;
  • numbers largely on deer carcasses;
  • is not known to transmit diseases to humans.

Tick Identification

During the last years about 75 % of the ticks have been identified by entomologists and other professionals familiar with ticks. If you want to identify and then submit a tick, put it into some leak-proof container with rubbing alcohol along.

How Does a Tick Bite Look photos

  1. Well, ticks are usually tear-shaped or round; in fact, they are too small to be seen. Meanwhile, when filled with blood, they are as big as a pencil eraser.
  2. They can be brown, black, gray, or reddish.
  3. Ticks have 8 legs which make them arachnids, but they are not spiders actually. Ticks usually eat/suck blood from mammals, people, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.  Like redbugs they are waiting for a victim on small bushes, sticks, and moss. They jump onto it and crawl around, until they finally find a spot where to feel safe enough for a bite (on the scalp/head, neck, back, waist, ankles).
  4. All ticks have sharp mouthparts which are buried into your skin and hang tight, so it is rather difficult to remove ticks from the skin.
  5. While attached, they drink blood: it’s their food. After having become full, they drop off.
  6. Female insects lay eggs in the moss/shrubs.

Just hate ticks.

Stop tick photo

Common Ticks: All about How They Look Like
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